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The Christian Mission: Phase One

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2021 7:00 am

The Christian Mission: Phase One

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 4, 2021 7:00 am

If we take the commands of God seriously, then we each have a very important job to do in this fallen world. Beyond caring for our families or establishing our careers, we have been given stewardship of the most important message the world has ever heard. Dr. James Boice takes us back to the moment when the first 12 missionaries were made.

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If we take the commands of God seriously then we each have a very important job to do in this fallen world beyond caring for families were establishing our careers we been given stewardship of the most important message of the world has ever heard. Thanks for tuning into the Bible study our Ms. Dr. James voice takes us back to the moment the first 12 missionaries were called to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyd preparing you to think and act biblically certain tasks feel more important or more urgent than others but nothing compares to the significance of the call to share the good news of the gospel with our broken world. Let's listen in now to the teaching of Dr. James Boyce is always something particularly significant about Christian ordination ordination of the gospel ministry least stiff flows involved take it seriously if there really called by God. That's true whether were talking about the ordination of teaching elder switches watch Presbyterian Church or call the pastors or ruling elders is what we call those who make up the session.

I remember my own ordination of the gospel ministry took place out in Pittsburgh. The presiding pastor was Dr. Robert J.

Lamont, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church on that Saturday in the manner preached a sermon was Dr. Carl FH Henry, the editor of Christianity today would been my mentor in certain ways.

Shirley and my times of preparation I remember from that service, particularly as that at the end of it after you preached a sermon Dr. Henry read off a specific charge to me have written it down separately added on a piece of paper and afterwards he gave it to me. Still have it in my desk where I prepare my own messages into my study and this is the way it reads it says James Boyce, you bear the name of a brother of the Lord cherish the message of all the apostles you share the momentum of the apostle to the Gentiles and matching the myths of our age with the timeless truth of the revelation of God's word always taken very seriously. I trust that God has enabled me to do that, at least in part reason I begin that. Why is it on the 10th chapter of Matthew, we have a record of an ordination, particularly Psalm one people that are being ordained of the 12 apostles.

One was ordaining them is Jesus Christ. It's hard to imagine setting or momentous the matching JC Ryle for one great English expositor door recognize that when he wrote, never was there so important in ordination member was there. So Solomon charge. This is a rather long chapter it's one of six collections of teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

They are all grouped by theme or emphasis we've already studied one sermon on the Mount had to do with the ethics and the foundation platforms or principles of the kingdom later on were going to have sections of pronounced walls on his reports unbelief whole sermon that has to do with prophecy things to, and so forth. This has to do with gospel ministry.

We look at it has to do with the ordination of these 12 is not a mere historical document that is a relic of the past.

Matthew is not writing anything in that sense is writing it for our benefit, because when Jesus instructs these initial 12 missionaries to go out and engage in their task of telling others about him. He is instructing us as well. Now at first glance, look at the chapter, it seems that these words are all given to the disciples on this occasion for this particular early ministry only look at it carefully.

We begin to notice that there is a distinction in this chapter between the first part of the chapter and the last verse section pictures of the medians mission to Israel to go to Israel. Only God and the why of the Gentiles onto the Samaritans and moreover there to do it quickly out even taking supplies along for the journey we go to the second half of this beginning with verse 17 we find that now it seems to be looking a bit further into the future because as Jesus indicates an that day. The apostles of Christ are going to need supplies and are also going to expect a certain degree of opposition even to the degree of their being flogged for the sake of their testimony something which did not happen to the apostles during the days of Christ's life among them, so far as we been told not as I say it's possible that all of this could have been given to the disciples for this first occasion. In other words, Jesus would tell them things that they needed to know for their immediate mission. But then he would also attached to that, things that would apply the later end of the church of all ages that when you look at it carefully. Probably what we have here is the same sort of thing that we probably had in the sermon on the mount that is a collection of teaching from that early. And here collection of teaching in which Jesus Christ gives instructions as to how his work should be done.

One way that we get an indication of that is when we compare what Matthew says here in this long chapter with what we find in Mark and Luke the Gospels that are closest to Matthew on everybody is interested in this kind of detail but just run through it briefly.

Looking at Matthew 10 verses five and eight are unique to Matthew, you don't find it in Mark or Luke verses nine through 16 have parallels in Mark six in the account of the sending out of the 12 and in two places and Luke and Luke nine with the 12 or commissions. And in Luke 10 with a 70 are sent outů Sort of thing you would expect.

That's an obvious parallel.

However, verses 17 through 25 in this chapter are most of the obvious differences occur have parallels in Mark and Luke two, but they don't occur early in the ministry, as instructions to the 12 or the 72 they occur in discourses that concern the end times. The parallels of those verses are to Mark 13, and Luke 21 versus 26 through 30 don't have any parallels in Mark.

There scattered throughout Luke in various places and on the last verses Oregon unique to Matthew explained that the most obvious explanation is that Matthew is recording here historical event. Jesus commissioning the 12 sending them out.

He writes down what Jesus told them, but keep patches to that material that Jesus also gave the others later concerning the kind of mission we have today is easy to understand why he's not writing during the lifetime of our Lord Jesus. By the time he is writing the gospel. Jesus is died and rose again from the dead is in heaven.

Mission. It's going forth is quite different than it was in those early days. As always writing it for the benefit of people just like you would may be saying because he is writing history. Jesus began with this kind of instruction of the 12 and they were to go to the Jewish community. First, he wants people to know that this is a Jewish gospel but did not bypass the Jews Gospels for more than the Jews it's for the Gentiles as well.

And so he attaches to that the kind of instruction that you and I need to hear. Now when we look at this first section section in which Jesus gives instructions to the 12 for that specific ministry we find that it has these various parts. First of all, he tells them where they are to go secondly tells him what to do when they get there early, tells him how there to think about money forth those and what they should expect and then finally he tells them the character there to exhibit now all that can be applied to us.

In most instances, must begin with this first where there to go.

He says in verses five and six. Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. I support the changes because later on he sends them out to the whole world and we are aware of that but we do want to ask at this point why the restriction look at some of the commentators find.

In some cases that you get explanation. The grows out of the customs of the times the prejudices of the age. While the commentators spent a lot of time talking about who the Samaritans were Samaritans were a group of mixed racial people. They had come into being after the deportation of the bulk of the Jews, the Bible and some of course, remain behind intermarried with the people that the Babylonians would establish the error settled in the land and then somewhat later they establish their own religion amount.

There is Jesus entered into that in the conversation with the Samaritan woman Jews had a great prejudice against the Samaritans like to go through their country. All in the normal way of traveling from Galilee in the north of Judah in the south would be to avoid land of the Samaritans came in between that actually cross over the Jordan River go down the far side of the Jordan crossed back over and go back up Jerusalem and vice versa. Well that's sort of a interesting explanation.

The problem is Jesus himself went into Samaria so we have the account in John for how he spoke to the woman at the well and how she got the people from site card, and I would preach the gospel to them how they believe it's not the only time he went through Samaria did it on other occasions as well. So explanation is not terribly helpful. One mother people are treated pragmatically, they say when you read the commentaries well and do everything at once after start somewhere. Disciples were indelibly and so that's where they're supposed to begin. They start their one of reason behind that but would only be like Jesus saying as he did later record that we have in the first chapter of Baxter to be my witnesses in Jerusalem first, but then also. After you've done that in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the art there beside well, that's where he start so I got that kind of a pragmatic reason. I think the real reason is theological. We have very many clues to that elsewhere in the New Testament the clearest as in John 422 or Jesus was talking to that woman of Samaria. She wants to enter into a debate with him about theological matters. She asked the question. Where should you worship should you worship in Jerusalem because that's what the Jews side were not Jews were Samaritans, we think you should worship here, embarrassingly, Jesus points out that salvation is of the Jews revelation of God came to the Jews, the Old Testament, they have that so so that's where we start will start with the validity of any kind of Samaritan religion charged with the Jews. When you understand that would seem to me that that's exactly what Jesus is talking about here at the proper place to begin is with the Jews because the Jews of those with whom God and works so you find even the apostle Paul picking up that pattern later because he said as he speaks about it in Romans one, the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. First for the Jew and then to the Gentiles. I don't think that means necessarily that every Gentile doing evangelistic work today has to find Judah talk to first before he can talk to a Gentile would be misunderstanding but but it does mean that historically, there was a priority with the Jewish people. So Jesus begins the Aaron Matthew which is the most Jewish of all the Gospels points that out yet the gospel today has expanded far beyond that and it's for Jew and Gentile alike joined together in the history of the church so that has to do with where they should go. Here's a second question, what should they do when they get there.

Much of the preach. This is what the next verses teach was a kind of teaching a viewpoint in the church today. This is really there two different kinds of messages in the gospel grows out of a certain kind of dispensationalism. It says while there was that message of the kingdom was preach to Israel first, Jesus is coming ready to set up the Davidic kingdom in line with our expectations. When they rejected Jesus it wouldn't happen then a different gospel having to do with his death and resurrection was preach to Gentiles, no Matthew doesn't know anything about two different kinds of Gospels. Only one gospel and in Matthew got the same thing at the beginning as you have at the end. Look back to the third chapter, you find that the message of John the Baptist was this repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.

And then when you get to the fourth chapter you find this of messages preached by Jesus repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.

Now we get to Jesus instructions to the 12 and it's exactly the same thing.

Verse seven the kingdom of heaven is near you come to the end of the gospel and you find it there as well. Jesus is prophesying that the same gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations of men. The end will come.

The only difference between this early preaching in our preaching is that in Jesus day when he was on earth before his death, the kingdom would come near, but wasn't realized he hadn't died yet not yet raise the debt.

Today, we look back we save all been accomplished kingdom has come in Jesus Christ and we preach exactly what the early apostles preached somebody should say well preach the kingdom of the rule of Jesus Christ. How do you get into that kingdom.

How do you have a share in that the answer is. It's exactly what the disciples were told to preach the preach repent and believe in Jesus Christ for Christ is the king of the kingdom we say it today, just as they did that with perhaps a greater measure of understanding because we look back on a greater unfolding of in history, but it's the same message.

Only one gospel that is only ever been one gospel. And that's the gospel now number three how much practical matters like taking offerings, paying the bills paying for the trip. Quite interesting that Jesus was very specific in this area. As a matter of fact, he says more about this than anything else.

Freely you have received, freely give. Verse eight disciples are to set a fee for their services. Not to worry about provisions either to the point of taking along extra clothing from take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts take no bag for the journey or lecture to make her samples of her staff. Verses nine and 10, but then again neither are they to refuse support of its given because the worker is worthy of his keep. First tenant. As far as lodging is concerned, there to accept whatever hospitality the upright people of the place might give them whatever town or village you enter search for somewhere, the person bearing stay at his house until nearly verse 11 that's very balanced councils.

Some people who will read that some Christians engaged in Christian work and have taken that as implying that Jesus is you should never make any provision for yourself or to do? Raise money or do anything like They forgot the later.

Jesus changed that you read a little further on in Luke 22nd chapter, Jesus is talking to them close to the end before his crucifixion. He asked him a question. He says when I sent you without purse, bag or sandals that you like anything, referring to this commissioning.

Their responses no reroute provided for.

But now he makes a change. He says, but now you have a purse, take it and also bag and if you don't have a sword so your cloak and buy one was what he saying there is the conditions following his crucifixion are going to be quite different than they were in the early days, so is giving them some very practical advice. Now couple principles there that apply to work today.

Number one the gospel must be offered without price.

Everyone knows that there are costs to preaching the gospel for no other reason the preacher has to eat, but the gospel is a message of God's free grace to us in Jesus Christ.

So it's always jarring, contradictory and sometimes blatantly simple. When the price is placed upon the preaching, some cases putting a price on the preaching or trying to connect the preaching of the gospel with making money is destroyed important ministries not helpful that principle to die. Will ministers do it in different ways. Some, like Billy Graham have a fixed salary get honorariums or anything, but what they do they have a salary just like anybody else. Others only except honorariums don't ask for what far as I'm concerned. I never asked for a fee for anything I do. Sometimes people invite me to preach my signature what your fee what you expect ways I never say that all of you give an honorarium is fine, whatever it is I'm glad to do that in some cases, so I don't take money for the event of all I glinting something that's part of what the ministry of the church is all about you and charge people to be married and expires leanings for Presbytery are concerned to speak of the Presbytery of something you will owe the body to which you belong. I often say that any minister to work out some way, where there were things he does on any money at all. Just remind himself that the is there to offer the gospel freely. So that's the first principle we all be able to offer it without money and without cost.

Isaiah 55 one. Secondly, God's people should support God's ministers because ministers need to be supported just like anybody else I also need places to live, and they have families to support and feed was going to do it. The Christians don't do in the world certainly isn't going to do what you talk about missionaries has to be the people back home. That's why we stress mission so much here at 10th Presbyterian Church and why your commitments to missions budget matter so much for your people out in Muslim countries. You don't think the Muslims are going to support our missionaries. Do you have people in overly pegylated link. The pagans are going to do it.

You have to do it. The Christians have to do it.

That's why we stress that so much. Paul operated like this. He never asked for money but he was very grateful to have the support of the people back home and kept him on the field one whole letter of the New Testament Philippians to thank the people in that church for their generous support and they did it more than once I did it regularly, and third, we have this principle as well. Ministers nevertheless need to trust God for their support of God's people are negligent in their giving as they sometimes are forget to pray. I forget to get what should the Christian worker do that well.

He has to trust God to provide for them and this is the main point here about taking money or extra clothes or shoes for the journey. The disciples needed these things that weren't supposed to refuse replacements when they were given they want to take along extras just order to demonstrate that their trust really wasn'tů Would see what they needed and he would provide a long way so you have those very practical matters is the fourth issue.

What should these missionaries expect they are going out to preach the good news is what gospel means we would think under the circumstances that they expect very favorable reception but only that they have good news to preach.

They were even going out to do miracles.

Is Jesus is to heal those who were sick, all those sorts of things we say well I should've gotten a good reception. Of course, that's too facile an explanation because we remember that Jesus did the same things only know what they did to him. He was despised and rejected a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering what they were to expect is made clear in verses 11 through 15.

Some people would receive them, and Jesus also there to stay with such worthy people.

That's the word he uses. On the other hand, others would reject the message and if they were rejected, what they were to do was shake off the dust from their feet and leave that house or that village that's one of those things that are part of the customs of the people that have more significance than we normally pick up what happened here. What was involved is that when Jews would leave a Gentile land. They would shake off the dust from their feet as they went back onto Jewish soil.

What Jesus is saying is when you go to the house of Israel, when you go to the Jews is very sending them they won't receive. You treat them as Gentiles, shake the dust off your feet go on because the gospel is for those who will receive it we find Paul doing exactly that at the city of Antioch record is in acts 13 verse 51. We find doing it at Corinth also acts 18 verse six now those words are important to Christian workers gospel wasn't received one of those will do it. That's helpful advice but is also a great warning to those who refuse the messengers of the gospel is telling us what Jesus makes it clear he says that they will receive you, their fate is going to be worse than that of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which were destroyed for their wickedness in the days of Abraham. He says what I tell you the truth will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town cities were notorious for their corruption. The people that would be rejecting Christ disciples were notorious for their corruption. They were Jews they would consider themselves very godly people. Jesus says their rejection of your message makes them worse on the notorious sinners among the Gentiles in that bygone notorious day so that's a word for anybody who hears the gospel today and things that they can simply ignore it, do what the cities of Capernaum and the Sega and so on.

Did in Christ taught me pronounces words of judgment for them as well.

When JC Wright wrote about this. He said people are apt to forget that it does not require great open sends to be send in order to ruin the soul forever, only to go on hearing without believing listening without repenting, going to church without going to Christ's by-and-by, they will find themselves in hell is are hard words, but their true warning.

They come to us from Jesus Christ on the last section talks about the character. The disciples are ministers of Jesus Christ should show Jesus says that I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be shrewd as snakes and innocent as dogs who put that verse at the very beginning of Jesus charged with the 70 Matthew uses that here is a summary of his instructions to the 12 as well as the transition and introduction to the section were going to look at next time I'll uses three images he says were to be like sheep among wolves. It's a way of saying that the world is a dangerous place, and Christians are vulnerable, like sheep among wolves. And yet in spite of this danger, there to remain sheep are not supposed to adopt the character of the walls, among whom a minister. I remember Winston Churchill saying of one of the prior prime ministers of England.

He was sheep in sheep's clothing. Sadly, we got Christians were wolves, and most clothing wolves in sheep's clothing that were not to be that were still to be sheep.

Charles Spurgeon said the only weapons. Christians were given the fact that they are weapon less tells us something about how we should carry on the work. Secondly, Jesus talks about is being shrewd as snakes at work. Shrewd is the same word is used in Genesis 3 of Satan here the word innocent is tacked on to write, which shows that it's a sanctified shrewdness and not talking about coming to the old King James said it better at this points that were to be wise as serpents is what one commentator says keenness that's recommended here involves insight in to the nature of one's surrounding circumspection sanctified commonsense wisdom to do the right thing at the right time and place them in the right manner.

In a serious attempt always to discover the best means to achieve the goal talking about wisdom.

We have to remember that the Bible says we have no wisdom of our own, we come to Jesus and asked for God give us wisdom and do it abundantly with the officers of the church need to do I need to do it constantly and so all Christians then finally uses the image of a dog, innocent as adults. He says doesn't refer so much here to moral purity is a purity of manners were to be straightforward without guile like Nathaniel Jesus called a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false or to put it in colloquial language with Christians.

What you say should be what you get. That's what we ought to be sad thing is that there have been periods in the history of the church. We have to say probably in her own experience as well when we'd not been like that. How are we going to maintain that kind of character in the midst of a hostile world. What were going to do it. We have to stay close to Jesus Christ. Nobody can ever be embarked upon a greater enterprise and the one that we are embarked upon. Give the good news of the gospel to the perishing world might pass from death to life. Find eternal felicity in heaven with our Lord. Nothing we can ever do will be greater than that no commission that we in the given will ever be more solemn.

That's the case at stake here how we go about it and be sure they were actually serving Jesus Christ's prayer father were thankful for these instructions giving the 12 so long ago and yet so much practical way for us as we receive this responsibility. Like them, father, bless our efforts individually and as a congregation. Bless your church in this day as it attempts to uphold the gospel. Make it clear to those who need to hear it strengthen us to that task. Bless the effort. The harvest might be pleasing to the great owner of the vineyard practices you are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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